Special print-effects for the cover of your thesis?

The cover of your thesis is the first thing a reader will see. This will be the first impression they get of your research. You want to make your cover somewhat special, and there are different ways to do so. You can make the design or image special (see also our article about cover inspiration). But another option, is by adding a special effect to the printing of your thesis!

This article shows what possibilities there are when it comes to these special effects. It will provide you with unique inspiration for the cover of your thesis.

Special print-effects

High-gloss UV varnish

High-gloss UV varnish is a glossy varnish that can be applied to specific parts of the design. It is somewhat of a transparant ink thats applied to those dedicated places (of your choice, depending on the design). These parts will then be shiny on a matte background, making them stand out.


Embossing results in a thicker/ thickened up layer on your thesis cover. Any shape can be embossed – in this process a stamp is made that is then pressed into your cover. This makes the part you chose to emboss, for exmaple your title, stand out as reliëf.

Foil prints

When you apply foil print to the cover, a shape of your choice is applied on top of the cover in a (often shiny) foil. This foil is applied to the cover under high temperature, which makes it attach to the paper. The result is a shiny foil layer, slightly deeper in the paper then the parts around it.

Laser cut

If you want to make the first page of your thesis show up from the outside, you can choose a laser cut for the cover. This means a part of the cover is cut out by laser, making it partially see-through. Sometimes there are standard laser cut options to choose from, for example circles or squares. If you truly want to make it unique, you can have your own idea made. This adds a very surprising effect to your cover!

Special ink

There are a lot of special kinds of ink. Here, we’ll discuss a few of them.

‘Rub and view’ ink / thermo ink

As the name suggests, this ink becomes transparant when you rub your finger over it. The ink changes from opaque black to completely transparant at a temperature of 25 degrees Celcius. Everything thats printed underneath the previously black ink, then becomes visible.

Reliëf ink

With reliëf ink, you create a raised effect of certain parts of the cover design, that you can both see and feel when touching the cover. It resembles embossing, mentioned earlier, but because it doesn’t require a stamp to be made, it is often cheaper in when you want fewer copies.

Glitter ink

This’ll truly make your cover shine! The glitter ink will be applied on top of the printed cover, and is available in different structures/ levels of coarseness and colors.

Screen foil

Screen foil gives a mirror-like effect to the ink. A good alternative to the previously mentioned foil print. The effect is practically the same, but because screen foil doesn’t require a stamp to be made, it is often lower in costs than a classic foil print.


The costs of all these special effects are mostly in starting and customizing the effect for your specific wishes. The higher the amount of copies, the lower the price per book will be. Special effects like these are never done on a proof print – this is good to keep in mind. You’ll really only see the results when you receive the final production. Of course, there are examples available so you’ll know what to expect. For exact prices, we advise you to contact the printer.

Hopefully this article has given you some inspiration to create a unique and special cover design!

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